Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

June 9, 202355/1006 min
Starring
Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Peter Cullen, Michelle Yeoh, Ron Perlman, Pete Davidson, Peter Dinklage
Written by
Jody Harold, Darnell Metayer, Josh Peters, Eric Hoeber, and Jon Hoeber
Directed by
Steven Caple Jr.
Run Time
Release Date
June 9th, 2023
Overall Score
Rating Summary

After 2018’s Bumblebee it began to look like the recovery of this franchise was having Michael Bay NOT directing them anymore. Being an 80’s kid I always had a special place in my heart for the robots that were more than meets the eye. And unlike Marvel films I was seeing my childhood favorite heroes taken down the wrong road. With convoluted plots, poor performances, and style over substance I was ready to finally see the Autobots and Decepticons battle each other once again like in those classic cartoon days.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts begins on another planet in which the decedents of the Autobots who are now called the Maximals (robots that transform to animal-looking creatures) led by Optimus Primal (Ron Perlman) are on the run from the evil planet devouring Unicron. They have to keep the Allspark, I mean the TransWarp Key out of his hands, so they rocket it into space. Cut to New York in the 90’s where Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos) is doing his best to make a better life for his mom and sick little brother Kris (Dean Scott Vazquez). After washing out of the military and finding no one that will hire him, Noah decides to turn to crime. When he steals what he thinks is a car it turns out to be Mirage (Pete Davidson) an Autobot in hiding. He gets the call from Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) that a signal has been sent from Earth into space signaling the minions of Unicron, led by Scourge (Peter Dinklage). That signal was inadvertently sent by museum employee Elena Wallace (Dominique Fishback) when she discovers a statue that has a piece of the hidden TransWarp Key inside. It becomes a race to get the Key as Scourge and his wrecking crew go up against the Autobots and their new allies the Maximals in a fight for the future of the planet.

Directed by Steven Caple Jr. and written by almost half a dozen writers Rise of the Beasts plays out just like it sounds, too many voices talking at once. There was no clear vision here, just to make a movie where giant robots punch each other. And have a couple of humans with stereotypical arcs come along for the ride. Even the finale which I found to be epically cool, was too little too late, and lazy in every storytelling way. Not really a spoiler but the final battle involves a giant beam in the sky where Thanos, I mean Unicron has to come through. As our heroes try to deactivate the Tesseract, I mean the TransWarp Key.

Both Ramos and Fishback do their best with the material they are given, but with that many cooks in the kitchen it ends up being a bland mess with a predictable ending. The voice cast is solid with names like Perlman, Dinklage, Michelle Yeoh and legends like Peter Cullen and John DiMaggio, again it’s not enough when the characters are given very little to do. Director Caple Jr. may have passion for the material, but he doesn’t have the clout of Bay to bring that vision to the screen. Instead, we have a movie that, like the original intention of the Transformers cartoon was purely made to sell toys.

The worst part of this whole endeavor is the last line of the movie which I will not spoil, had my audience gasp and cheer in joy at what’s probably on the horizon for the franchise. For me, all I could think was, why were we not watching THAT movie this whole time?

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